Antonín Dvořák: Complete Works for Solo Piano I. – In Youthful Soaring
Forget-me-not Polka, B. 1
Per Pedes PolkaPolka in E major, B. 3
Two Minuets, Op. 28, B. 58
Dumka, Op. 35, B. 64
Scottish Dances, Op. 41, B. 74
Tema con variazioni, Op. 36, B. 65
It's not every day one can attend a concert featuring several dozen compositions. Of course, festivals are ideal moments for special experiences. Under the guidance of Ivo Kahánek and the musicologist David Beveridge, audience members and young pianists will experience a marathon concert at which nearly all of Antonín Dvořák's music for solo piano and for piano four-hands will be heard. His piano works will be played in six topically arranged blocks that will encompass everything not already heard at the solo recitals of Iva Kahánek and the Ardašev Piano Duo.
Piano compositions are not in general among Dvořák's best known music - an exception perhaps being the extremely popular Humoresque No. 7 in G Flat Major. Still, he devoted himself to the piano continually, and he also frequently composed at the keyboard. This piano marathon is a special opportunity to get to know Dvořák's pianistic thinking at maximum intensity, magnified by insightful performing.
The patron of the event is the excellent pianist and popular Dvořák Prague Festival guest Ivo Kahánek. He already won over the festival public years ago as the curator of its Chamber Series and again last year performing Dvořák's Piano Concerto, for the recording of which he won a BBC Music Magazine Award. The marathon will also be an opportunity for the festival debuts of the pianists Marek Kozák, Natálie Schwamová, Matouš Zukal, Pavel Zemen, and Kristýna Znamenáčková.
The pianist Ivo Kahánek is one of today’s most successful Czech performers. After graduating from the Janáček Conservatoire in Ostrava and the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, he furthered his education at London’s famed Guildhall School and at a number of masterclasses. At the age of 25, he became the overall winner of the Prague Spring International Music Competition. Besides giving solo recitals, he appears with renowned orchestras (Czech Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra in Cologne) and conductors (Vladimir Ashkenazy, Pinchas Steinberg, Jiří Bělohlávek). In 2007 at London’s famed BBC Proms, he performed the Piano Concerto No. 4 (“Incantation”) by Bohuslav Martinů. In November 2014 he became just the second Czech pianist in history (after Rudolf Firkušný) to appear with the Berlin Philharmonic. Sir Simon Rattle conducted the performance. He has a number of acclaimed recordings to his credit with the music of Frédéric Chopin and Leoš Janáček among other composers. His CD from last year with piano concertos by Dvořák and Martinů was honoured by the prestigious British music journal BBC Music Magazine as the Recording of the Month.
Suk Hall is the newest hall in the Neo-Renaissance Rudolfinum. It was created from 1940 to 1942 during modifications of the adjacent Dvořák Hall, as a smaller concert hall. In designing the interior decor architects Antonín Engel and Bohumír Kozák took inspiration from the original style of the Rudolfinum’s architects Josef Zítek and Josef Schulz, thus Suk Hall fits perfectly into the original composition of the building. During the most recent modifications in 2015, according to a design by architect Petr Hrůša, the acoustics of the hall and its connection to the Rudolfinum’s atrium were improved while respecting the historical value of these premises, protected as a historical landmark. Suk Hall has a new grand piano and continues to be intended mainly for performances of chamber music.